For the last few years I’ve been stuck down the rabbit hole of big blockbuster movies, blinkered by big shiny movie trailers, superhero explodefests and an endless cycle of reboots. It’s easy to pick a random flick on a Friday night, leave your brain at home and sit for a few hours with a face full of popcorn and an eyeful of sparkly CGI nonsense in a darkened cinema.
However, recently something’s changed. My mind is switching back into ‘curiosity mode’ – a place I was permanently set at in my twenties. During this period, I watched a plethora of diverse films – I didn’t discriminate. After years of dismissing the horror genre as something that ‘wasn’t for me’, I discovered Korean horror, a sub genre I could get my teeth into. I explored Japanese animation and independent film too, I watched it all with a hunger that sadly dissipated over time… until now.
I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a huge sucker for a superhero flick, anything sci-fi and empty-brained action. It’s all a bit if fun, why not? But it’s too much now, it’s overkill. After seeing the bloated, corporate mess that was Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice recently, I have to draw a line under these films at some point or at least filter them with a more discerning eye. There’s just too much of it all. I want something different, I want to switch my brain back on and experience the art of film.
With so many little arty cinemas closing down in the last ten years, the era of the big budget franchise is king but this doesn’t mean independent cinema has gone away. It just means I need to open my eyes and look for it a little harder. And I’m not talking about just going down a more puritanical ‘indie’ route for the sake of it here, it’s just that my taste for films that have been written and directed with a little more fervour are doing it more for me again. 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Witch are good examples of recent films with a mainstream cinema release that are bloody brilliant. Conversely, Deadpool is the perfect example of a superhero film that isn’t big budget that managed to smash everyone’s expectations, owing it’s success to the fact it was well written, with the fans in mind and team behind it that understood the character.
So, when I stumbled across the trailer for The Invitation, I was incredibly impressed. The film is directed by Karyn Kusama who, after directing films Girlfight, Aeon Flux and Jennifer’s Body, has decided to return to her indie routes with this latest film.
Set at a house party in the Hollywood hills, friends are reunited at a dinner party but there’s something sinister at play. Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus) and Michiel Huisman (Game of Thrones) star in the tense thriller set in one house, filmed in close quarters, adding to the tension.
I’ve watched the trailer at least four times now and it makes more excited to see this film with every watch. It’s strengthened my thirst for films with a bit of ‘meat’ about them too. I’ll always have a soft spot for super powers and high-strung action but I need to remind myself that there’s still more out there, I need to hold on to the curiosity that fuelled my desire to watch so many terrific films throughout my twenties.
Film is an incredibly powerful art form and one, which like music, has been diluted down by big business for mass consumption, making it easier to use our brains less. It’s great taking our brains on holiday once in a while but let’s not leave them there. Stay awake, be curious, consume and learn!
The Invitation is out April 8th 2016.